PR | Feb. 14, 2022
A party-list is pushing for measures that will protect indigenous people (IP).
Mae Bautista Ferro, second nominee of Ang Laban ng Indiginong Filipino (ALIF) party-list, said IPs are faced with challenges that are diverse “that a single solution will not be enough.”
“I am convinced that a balance of education and protection of their culture is the first step that must be taken. Education is ironically the best way of protecting a people from exploitation,” Ferro said.
Ferro said ALIF will push for the review of all laws that are beneficial for the IPs and develop appropriate support systems to enable the local governments, government agencies, law enforcement, and the armed forces to understand the delicate culture of the IPs and deliver services that will not be destructive to their way of life.
“We can see that despite being a large part of the Filipino population, the IPs still need help in the areas of education, health, livelihood, and protection from exploitation. The people and these needs are the reasons why I decided to join the ALIF Party-list,” she added.
Ferro said ALIF will work closely with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in formulating education programs for the IPs and education programs for the general student population to promote understanding and acceptance of differences, she said.
Ferro added that there is a need to craft a law that will institutionalize education subsidy for IPs in all three levels of our education system.
The law will make sure that the IPs and their children will have what it takes to stand for themselves, Ferro said.
“It is my fervent hope and my cherished vision that one day, the IPs will no longer need a voice from outside their tribes to speak for them. Sana, dumating ang araw na sila na mismo and magsasalita sa Camara at Senado upang magsulong ng kanilang adhikain (I hope that the day will come that they themselves will be able to talk in the Congress and Senate to push their goals). But until then, ALIF will be here to help them through,” she said.
Ferro is the wife Major Gen. Albert Ignatius Ferro, who is the Director of the Criminal Investigation and Detectiom Group.
Ferro said she agreed to become one of ALIF’s nominees due to her belief that women have what it takes to become a good public servant.
“I have always had the heart for helping people. Throughout the years of supporting my own children and my husband, Albert, I have seen and experienced first hand that women are able and can do many things to for the Filipino,” she said.
Ferro said being a wife of a police general exposed her to the culture of IPs.
“When Albert was assigned at Compostela Valley, I have seen the richness of the indigenous peoples living there. Do you know that is the three great islands of the Philippines, Mindanao is the richest in indigenous peoples? This is something that we don’t see much in Luzon where I come from. The IPs are predominantly in the Cordilleras. I have meet the Mandaya, Kamayo, Kalagan, and Manobo of Compostela Valley,” Ferro said.
“I have experienced first-hand the beauty of their culture, the potential that these humble people possess. Yet, at the same time, I have also experienced the dire need to support them. The IPs represent at least 10% of the total Filipino population but this sector is hardly represented in our government,” Ferro said.